Today it is my absolute pleasure to share my thoughts on Bad Apples, the latest Tuva Moodyson thriller from Will Dean. I have loved getting to know Tuva and her very strange community over the past three books so was delighted to receive an early proof from publisher Point Blank Books. My thanks also to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the tour invite. Here’s what this latest book is all about:
About the Book
It only takes one…
A resident of small-town Visberg is found decapitated
A grim celebration in a cultish hilltop community after the apple harvest
A race against time
As Visberg closes ranks to keep its deadly secrets, there could not be a worse time for Tuva Moodyson to arrive as deputy editor of the local newspaper. Powerful forces are at play and no one dares speak out. But Tuva senses the story of her career, unaware that perhaps she is the story…
Well there is so much I could say about this book but to say certain things would surely act as spoilers. Let’s just say that throughout this series of books, Will Dean has catered to all the phobias, bugs, snakes, enclosed spaces … He doesn’t disappoint this time either. And no, I’m not talking about a fear of apples. There is a very specific … element of this book which we can all probably relate to, and if you don’t like it now, well this book won’t help. Cryptic? You betcha. Read the book. You’ll know.
This time Tuva is back in the town of Gavrik with a new job title at the paper and a new, extended, territory to cover. If you thought some of the communities that she has already locked (elk) horns with have been strange, prepare to be stunned yet again by the town of Visberg. A very closeted, very close community, where the traditions are strange and the residents … well, stranger still. As always the story opens in memorable style, the discovery of a body in a dark and atmospheric wood (yes – Tuva has form for this) and the beginning of an investigation which will be as troubling and unusual as any that Tuva has ever known. There are an abundance of suspects, an array of possible motives, but a darkness at the heart of the town that everyone seems reluctant to discuss. It seems money and influence can also buy silence – but at what cost.
I love that Will Dean brings the strange and the wondrous to life in his stories. Whilst I imagine that the odd characters and strange traditions that he brings to life would probably send the Swedish tourist board into a whirl, they create no end of intrigue, tension and intensity to the story. I always come to these books ready to expect the unexpected and I am never disappointed. This time, whilst we are treated the old familiars of the troll carving sisters, as well as Tuva’s colleagues at the Posten, best friend Tammy and lover, Noora, we also have wide range of unusual characters, larger than life but completely believable, that kept me invested and yet completely apprehensive. There really was no telling which of these highly suspicious locals could be the guilty party. It is almost as though quirkiness is the secret to survival in the more remote parts of Tuva’s world. Be it over exuberant characters such as the ‘Sheriff’ who made me smile, the more reticent who just me a little nervous, or those of money who automatically made me suspicious, I was completely hooked on the community and completely drawn into their world.
And then there is the setting. Visberg is a very strange town and we join the residents at a very strange time. Right on the cusp of Halloween, you’d think that this would be spooky enough. That’s until you factor in ‘Pan Night’ a pre Halloween tradition that puts trick or treaters to shame. Will Dean is the King of creating unusual situations, of developing scenarios that seem to border on the occult without ever quite stepping over the line, and this is no exception. Definitely not what I was expecting and a bit of an eye opener for Tuva too.
This book is full of mystery, suspense, atmosphere and tension – everything we’ve come to know and love about the series. Honestly, if I was Tuva, I’d have been considering a complete change of career, not accepting an even wider and weirder territory, but where would the fun be for readers in that scenario? The books keep going from strength to strength and as much as I like snakes, I do think this is one of my favourites to date. And that ending? Well – it’s certainly left me completely hungry for the next instalment. It needs to come reeeaaally soon.
Creepy, intense. A top, top read. Highly recommended (in spite of the phobia I’ve now developed). Getting one of these:
About the Author
Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands and had lived in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. His debut novel, Dark Pines, was selected for Zoe Ball’s Book Club, shortlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker prize and named a Daily Telegraph Book of the Year. The second Tuva Moodyson mystery, Red Snow, won Best Independent Voice at the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Awards, 2019, and was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year 2020. The third novel, Black River, has been longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2021. Rights for the series have been sold in eight territories (France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Poland, Czech Republic, China and Turkey). Will lives in Sweden where the Tuva Moodyson novels are set.
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